As you can probably guess from all the pics of me in a cowboy hat (& my penchant for Dolly Parton songs), I’m a country girl at heart. My family lived in the countryside until I was about 7 when we moved to the Big Smoke of Auckland (yes, it is the big smoke!). I kept close to the country through horse riding and family connections and I’ve always kept a bit of the country close to my heart, even in the super big places like London. Of course, anytime you venture outside NZ, the world sees you as being from the middle of nowhere so maybe it’s just naturally Kiwi to be a little bit country (and a little bit rock n roll, of course!).
At the time we left NZ, my country self was completely blissed out – living on our small farm with our horses, pigs, chickens, dogs, and cat was a dream come true. Here in Australia, we’re lucky to be in a rural area. There’s enough town to get by but plenty of bush, beach and horse country to avoid that crowded city feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I love to visit the big & bustling cities of the world (I’m looking at you, Madrid) but I feel most at home with a slower pace of life. Also, there’s nothing like shovelling poo to remind you that you’re only as special as the last feed bucket you made up. Country living is definitely a great way to be reminded that you’re just another of god’s creatures.
It’s lucky I’m a fan of heading into the city every now and then, or this singing business could be truly tough. Fortunately, I have a healthy addiction to Project Runway that ensures that my inner City Mouse is always ready for a trip to shop for shoes and handbags, and to sip lattes. There is work in the small places; in fact, most of those places are where most of my work has been. The trick with singing is that you need the big jobs in the big cities to get to a bigger audience and, hopefully, the next job. Also, amazingly enough, sometimes the small places aren’t all that interested in you until you’ve sung in the big places. It’s a puzzling situation and one I have yet to get my head around.
Working in the small places and working in the big places are two slightly different beasts. Small jobs are so loving and sweet. Everybody’s really thrilled you could be there to sing, the audiences come up afterwards to say how much they enjoyed the performance, and (in Singing Narrator work, a.k.a oratorio jobs) there’s always tea and scones with the choir and orchestra (or keyboard player) after the show. Big city jobs (the few I’ve had, anyway) are a slightly different story. At my stage of singing, it’s such a thrill to do a big job and your brain is always working overtime to take everything in and learnlearnlearn from the high profile people you’re working with. Tea and scones are swapped for drinks and nibbles with sponsors; always a tough one for me as I don’t drink alcohol and my capacity for small talk is still in a growth phase.
Essentially, both jobs get the same Country Mouse, just sometimes looking fabulous in heels and a cute dress at the after party (not that I don’t totally rock the dirty jeans and gummies look). Someday, I’ll be as good at working a cocktail function full of bigwigs as I am at hauling bales of hay. For now, if you meet me at a post-match “do”, you might have to make do with hearing about the dogs and chatting about the price of horse feed.